Historically, farmers in Pakistan have been using the conventional broadcast method to apply fertilizers to the crops. This method is wasteful and results in adverse environmental consequences as only 15% of the applied fertilizers is useful for the crop, the rest is not of any use to the crop.
As a solution to this problem, the Fertilizer Band Placement Drill Machine (FBPD) was developed. The key function of the drill is to place the fertilizer 5 cm away and 5 cm deeper than the crop seed so that the efficiency of the fertilizer is maximized.
This has been a very successful initiative as various experiments show that at least 50% of the fertilizer used had been reduced and yields were increased up to 10%. However, it has also been noted that previously farmers were reluctant to use the machine because of its heavy weight. Due to the heavy weight, the 40-50 HP tractors available were not able to operate it effectively.
Therefore, now, a modification of the machine is developed which is 40kg lighter and the drive wheel mechanism has been shifted from the rear to front, so effective seed metering can also be incorporated through the machine. Moreover, the regular 40-50 HP tractors can now operate the machine effectively.
Comparative experiments were carried out in five different locations of Chakwal. FBPD use was compared with the use of the conventional Rabi Drill and Zero Till Drill. It was found that half bag DAP applied with fertilizer band placement drill gave 24.30% and 21.38% increased crop yield over zero-drill and farmers practice (Rabi Drill), respectively.
Hence, this article points towards a very important new technology that could significantly reduce the use of fertilizers and simultaneously increase the yields.